Estranged family members want to reconnect

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by trinityroyal, Dec 31, 2009.

  1. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    At this time of the rolling year, I find myself facing a dilemma.

    I have mentioned my difficult child-family in passing, but have never really gone into too much detail about them. I still don't really want to get into the whole mess, but here's a short sketch so that you understand what I'm dealing with.

    difficult child-father: Antisocial Personality Disorder. He truly fits the textbook definition of a sociopath. Would happily see me dead, but considers violence beneath his dignity.

    difficult child-mother: Schizophrenic. Spiteful, vengeful woman. I spent much of my childhood mothering her.

    difficult child-brother: Severe ADHD, likely personality disorder, undiagnosed. Happy-go-lucky demeanour, combined with a childhood pattern of throwing me under the bus to establish himself as the parental favourite.

    About five years ago, I broke off all contact with the lot of them. This, after a protracted run of very difficult times during which, among other things, difficult child-father, with help from Mother and Brother tried to split up husband and me, have Little easy child taken away, and have me involuntarily and permanently committed to a psychiatric hospital. difficult child-father is a prominent doctor in the city in which we both live, so he very nearly succeeded. The fallout of his actions is STILL winding its way through the courts.

    I don't hate them or hold a grudge. I think I've even managed to forgive them. However, their actions opened my eyes to how they really felt about me, and I learned that life was much healthier without their involvement. Little easy child still sees them, by court order, but they have no other contact with me or my family, and I don't see them or speak to them.

    Now, the dilemma. This morning, I got a message from my sister in law, difficult child-brother's wife. She found me through a mutual contact on a social network and decided to get in touch. The tone of the note is friendly, chatty and light, as though we just got together for coffee a month ago, instead of having no contact at all for the last 5 years.

    I've been trying to examine my feelings about this in far, I think I feel a sort of numb indifference to all of the people involved, combined with mild annoyance that this item has been put on my to-do list.

    I am struggling with whether I should reply at all, and if so, what on earth I should say. husband does hold a grudge toward them for how they hurt me, and I know he would advise me to block her immediately, but I'm not sure if that's the approach I want to take.

    So, what do you all think?

  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Funny you should post about this today- I was thinking about my dysfunctional family last night and how they won't just let go and completely go away but yet they have made it more than obvious how they really feel about me and that their claims of love for difficult child are really just a way to justify their BS.

    So, given my mood and attitude about dysfunctional families right now, I recommend cordially declining any "invitation" to start socializing again. If the actual attempt she made was one of those network invitations to be friends, I think I would just ignore it.
  3. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I have to say, most of us with families at the level of dysfunction (isn't it sad that your story is so heartwrenching yet common????) will probably always wish it could be better, different, livable. Who wants to write their own family off completely?

    The thing I've learned with people as toxic as my family (and seems like yours from your explanation as well) is that there is no contact small enough to prevent more problems. I've learned the hard way that boundaries put in place by us to prevent more damage, are usually senseless as the other parties only see we are in contact and that is enough for them to weave their own brand of nasty into our worlds.

    I think if it were me, I'd simply click off the message as if it never was. Lock you in a hospital permanently? Take your child? Destroy your marriage???? That is literally everything valuable to an adult. Your safety and very life (taken by a hospital??), your offspring and your life partner. Those are things that are NOT to be messed with by others.

    We dont' choose the families that we are born to. We do choose our spouses and to have our own children. I'd protect that to the ends of the earth.

    I'm so sorry that they have creeped in under your radar after so much time. I'm betting there was family talk through the holidays, your name came up and thus you were on the sister in law's radar and she reached out to you. I'd remember she's chosen as her life mate, a man who would throw his own sister under the bus for favor with his parents. She might be nice as pie, but she is still attached for life, by choice, to a person who has harmed you and sounds like would again.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    First off, did you friend her back? If not, don't.

    At most I would probably leave it at "We're well. Thank you for asking. Hope you have a Happy New Year."

    Or, if you feel like being more honest, perhaps "Given the past actions of my parents against me and my children, I'm surprised that you would be under the impression that I would feel safe in any kind of a relationship with them or anyone closely connected to them. I thank you for your concern, but my mind is made up that I must protect myself and my children from their interference, and hope that you will respect my decision."

    Who knows? Maybe she is divorcing your brother and wants your help. But I would proceed with extreme caution, if at all.
  5. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Given what all has happened to you at the hands of the people she is closely connected to, I think I would have to decline.

    To people with no boundaries, a connection is a connection is a connection. If she's truly just trying to be cordial, great. But I'd still consider her a casualty of the war and decline to re-establish any sort of link.
  6. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Wow. Very glad to hear the psychos didn't suceed in shutting you away.

    As for this sister in law....I would ignore it completely. After all of that....there is no reason to even respond. I'm assuming she knows the history so who in their right mind would think you would even CONSIDER having contact with ANYONE in that family. Keep the email and any future ones if you want so you have means to contact them if the need should ever arise or keep them as "evidence" but if it were me.....I wouldn't respond at all. They know where you are, they know how you are and have some sort of contact via little easy child's ordered visitations (supervised I hope?) so they don't really need more than that now do they?

    The further you stay away from these people, the better.

  7. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I would also like to add that if she continues to attempt contact, I would send her some version of the above. I don't know that mine would be as nice and cordial as what Witz wrote but something along those lines should be sent if she continues to persue contact. If she IS divorcing your brother and wants help, good for her but you still don't need to get involved. If she needs evidence of their devious and frightening ways, as you said, it's all in the courts.
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    For all your sister in law knows--her message was blocked by your "junk filter" and you never received it...

    The end.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    True about the courts. She doesn't need you. More than likely she's deluded herself into thinking that they really aren't all that bad, and maybe they were justified in what they did to you.

    I think I'd just ignore her. That's what I did with the half-hearted Christmas card I got from my mom this year. husband opened it, confirmed that it said some version of "Hope you have a wonderful new year. Love, Dad and Mom (why is he always first?)" and shredded it. I was fine with that.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone. You're all backing up my gut feeling about the situation.

    I don't think sister in law is divorcing difficult child-brother. Honestly, if she were, she has a support system of her own and certainly doesn't need my help. Even if it turns out to be that, she's a big girl and can look after herself in that matter without any intervention from me.

    As for poor Little easy child, they very nearly did succeed in taking him away from me. Due to difficult child-father's position in the community, and I suspect, his very deep pockets, he lined up a team of experts to counter the psychiatrist assessments I had done. The upshot is that Little easy child lives with me part time, with my difficult child-parents part time, and with ex-H part time. He has huge anxiety, nightmares about being kidnapped, and he begs me not to send him back to the others whenever I have to ship him out, but I have to comply with the court orders, much as I'd prefer not to.

    My difficult child-mother still slips birthday cards and such for me into Little easy child's luggage when he comes back here from there. I usually shred them.

    My family has a long history of pretending that everything's just fine, they're all upstanding citizens, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if sister in law thinks that difficult child-father was justified in his actions, or that enough time has passed that I must be "over it". Or maybe she thinks I'm like them in that I care more about what outsiders think than what family members do to each other.

    For now, I think I'll just do nothing. If she keeps up the attempts at contact, I will write something like you suggested Witz.

    I think the thing that upsets me most is that she's dredged up all sorts of horrible feelings and has succeeded in ruining my day. I feel like crawling into a hole and crying.
  11. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    In THAT case Trinity.....I suggest (demand) you immediately go to your stereo and find all of your favorite, upbeat cd's, songs, tapes, whatever. Get the prince and princess settled somewhere quiet, clear a good space near the stereo, crank the music and dance. These people don't deserve the energy it takes to dredge up those feelings. I understand why you feel like you are but they don't deserve the energy and you don't deserve the negativity.


    And just out of don't have to's kind of nosy and I don't want to make you feel any worse....what is ex-h's opinion of the arrangments with your family? Would he be an ally on fighting the current arrangement?
  12. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Ditto stang. Put the energy to work for something good.

    And hugs. I'm so sorry.
  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I totally get this. All I can say is to soldier on. It will fade away.
  14. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I agree. Find some great music and dance with those beautiful babies. Many hugs.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Reagrding the statement you made that Witz quoted, I call that the "Toxic Fog" that interferes with my life and clouds my judgement. That should reaffirm your realization that this contact would not be good for you. I find it very diificult sometimes to get out from that fog but sometimes it just rolls off my back. LOL!
  16. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Toxic fog - merely wants to blow into town, see what it can poison....then blow back out of town leaving the crops, flowers and pretty things to wither for years to come just like Chernoble. -----it will take another 50 years for that place to be habitable.

    Think about it.

    I like the spam junk filter thought.

    Oh an I name dropped a little with you yesterday....about your town. I had to argue with a pharmacist about a Co. called Apotex. They could NOT believe I knew someone who lived in E town. Lol....neither could I. :tongue:
  17. ML

    ML Guest

    Just echoing what everyone else said. Let sleeping dogs like and go on about living your life toxic free! I'm so sorry you had to go through all this pain. Love you tons! ML
  18. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Well, you know what they say about girls marrying men who are just like their fathers...

    Ex-H would definitely NOT be an ally. Aside from all the other issues in that marriage, he was furious with me for breaking up with him and separating him from the potential inheritance he was likely to get from the difficult child-parents when the time came. In fact, he worked hand in hand with difficult child-father, claiming that I (all 5'3" of me) abused him (6'5" ex-hockey player) and that he was scared of me...

    Thanks for the words of wisdom everyone. I have loaded some fabulous dance music into the car stereo and as soon as both babies wake up from their nap I will take them out for a drive.

    Toxic fog...that's a great mental image. That's exactly how I felt. I will roll down the windows of the car and let the strong winter wind blow the toxic fog back where it came from.